The 12x zoom is stabilized so you don't need a tripod. The LCD is 2.5" and easy to see in the sun. It'll do 9 shot bursts at 5M, has shutter speeds up to 1/2000, and ASA 64 up to 400. I like the fact you can set it to full manual and control shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Just like the good 'ol Honeywell Pentax SLR days.
It even shoots movies of decent resolution and quality (640 x 480, 30 fps), with sound, which are time-limited only by the amount of memory on the stick.
Add a couple of 512 memory sticks, batteries, charger, case... man does it ever add up! Someday I'll get a good dSLR but this thing is pretty darn good and easy as pie.
I'll be using it as a non-professional, non-track, general purpose, vacation/party/other stuff photography. I wanted to keep it near $400.